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WHO: Extent of Ebola outbreak has been 'underestimated'

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Ebola underestimatedAs the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa nears 1,500, the World Health Organization said Friday that its "magnitude... has been underestimated."

The outbreak is likely on a scale larger than realized, says WHO, and attributes that to various factors including keeping infected family members at home to die, denial of infection and fear that medical quarantine will be lethal to ill family members.

"As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more comfortable dying at home."

In rural villages in particular, locals do not notify health officials when a resident dies from Ebola symptoms, leading to an underestimate of the real number of cases.

Many medical facilities are overwhelmed and ill-equipped to handle the enormity of need.

In Liberia, WHO also noted a new phenomenon of "an invisible caseload of patients who are not being detected by the surveillance system" but show up at alarmingly high rates whenever a new treatment facility is opened.

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